VANESSA LAURIE / Tips
New Plymouth was bathed in bright sunshine last year, more so than anywhere else in the country in fact.
It’s official, Taranaki was New Zealand’s sunniest region in 2021.
The news was revealed at a reception in Auckland on Tuesday, where Niwa released his annual climate summary for last year.
The New Plymouth weather station recorded 2592 hours of sunshine in 2021, ahead of the Hawke’s Bay site in Napier with 2566 hours and the Richmond site in Nelson with 2537.
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New Plymouth Mayor Neil Holdom couldn’t contain his excitement when he heard the news, after calmly answering the phone and asking, “Did we win?
“I think it’s great, but it’s no surprise,” Holdom said. “It’s just another fantastic reason for people to come and visit or live here.”
He spoke about the controversy surrounding the results of previous years and how the first title could have been claimed earlier.
“But the truth will always come out and here it is – victorious, glorious.”
Holdom even gave the regions behind Taranaki on the map a bit of nerve, calling them “wannabes”.
“I can’t wait to defend the title.”
Last year, Whakatāne won first place and made a video, website and promotions, dedicated to being the Sunshine Capital of New Zealand.
And the fact that the city was once again stripped of its title came as a shock to Mayor Judy Turner.
“You rat bags,” she laughed.
Turner sent him “congratulations” – and issued a challenge for the coming year.
“Well done, it’s a great title to have,” she said. “But we’re going to give you a hard time this year. “
SIMON O’CONNOR / STUFF
Taranaki is home to a range of spectacular swimming spots, including Tongaporutu, Wilkies Pools, and Opunake. (Video first published in August 2020)
It could be the first time that New Plymouth has won the title.
The annual summaries on Niwa’s website only date back to 2000, but at that time the New Plymouth never won.
However, the city has controversially come together in the past.
Until 2012, hours of sunshine in New Plymouth were recorded manually, but when an automated device was introduced, hours of sunshine increased significantly, recording a record 2,433 hours in 2012 and then 2,668 hours in 2013 and 2,632.8 in 2014.
The 2013 and 2014 numbers would be the second highest in the country in both years, but the New Plymouth site was not included in any of Niwa’s annual summaries, meaning the result was never acknowledged.
The 2013 result was such a shock that the device was even sent for testing and another was installed.
Sunshine records this millennium:
2000-2006 – Nelson
2007-2008 – Blenheim
2009 – Nelson
2010 – Whakatane
2011 – Nelson
2012-2014 – Whakatane
2015 – Blenheim
2016-2019 – Nelson
2020 – Whakatane
2021 – New Plymouth